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Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick: Which Dog Food Brand is Best?

Comparing Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick for your pup's next meal? We compare these two popular dog food brands and analyze cost, quality, formulas, and more.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: October 31, 2020 | 11 min read

Dog Eating Food in Bowl

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Thinking of changing your dog’s diet but can’t decide which dog food brand to choose? Maybe you’ve finally narrowed it down to Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick, and aren’t sure which brand will suit your pup best? In this guide, we compare both brands and look at several different factors. From their brand history, through to their recipes and onto their ingredients, we will show you how they compare. Plus, we’ll tell you what their product recall history is, and their options for each life stage. 

Let’s start off by saying that if you’ve settled on one of these dog foods, you likely want the very best for your pup. Both Merrick and Taste of the Wild have a loyal customer following. But each brand offers something distinctly different than the other for your dog, and you’ll likely want to know what those differences are before settling on your pup’s next meal.

Perhaps you’ve found your way here just because you’re wondering what these famous brands are all about. Or, your prized pup became a picky eater and decided that it’s time for a change of kibble. Regardless of how you got here, this guide we will tell you everything worth knowing about Merrick and Taste of the Wild. So, let’s get to it and see who comes out as the top dog!

Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula High Prairie
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Taste of the Wild

View at Chewy.com
Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula
Our Rating

Best For Adults

Taste of the Wild

View at Chewy.com
Merrick Dog Senior Dog Food
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Merrick Senior Formula

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Brand History

Merrick and TOTW Brands
Both Merrick and Taste of the Wild have reputable brand histories.

Big brands are built on high values and an ethical ethos. If you like their philosophy and it fits with your outlook and the needs of your dog, it goes a long way to providing what you both need. So, let’s see what these two brand’s core values are and what benefit that brings to your wolf pack.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild was established in 2007 by Diamond Pet Foods. They are the parent organization that owns and produces multiple different brands of pet food. Taste of the Wild is their premium food, and it was created to be affordable for all. For this reason, it has always been a big hit with pet owners.

The big driver for this food is to replicate a dog’s natural diet in the wild by including real meat as the main ingredient. Hence their name, Taste of the Wild. Diamond Pet Foods has had a sticky past, but Taste of the Wild has gone a long way to win customers back.

We’ve compared Taste of the Wild a number of times, against many different brands. If you are looking for a few additional brand comparisons, dive into our other Taste of the Wild comparisons here:

Merrick

Garth Merrick was a dog lover and believed that a proper diet was vital to good health and keeping his dogs in top shape. His company Merrick Food was started over 30 years ago in his family kitchen. Hailing from Hereford, Texas, where they first produced canine dentistry treats called flossies, they quickly moved into all-natural pet food.

From the off, they were well received as people became more and more conscientious about the quality of food they fed their cats and dogs. With the ongoing trend of wholesome pet food, their popularity is continuing to grow. They have a loyal base of customers who highly rate their food as an excellent choice for any canine, even when compared to other bigger brands.

Recalls

Product Recalls
Both Merrick and Taste of the Wild have had product recalls in the past.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety of food and food supply chains. When these food products do not meet the criteria or pose a risk to humans or animals alike, the FDA will issue a recall.

By collating the info available on the FDA website and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website, we have each brand’s history of recalls.

Merrick

Merrick has seven recall notices of their dog treat products, six of which were voluntary recalls:

January 1, 2010: FDA announces that Merrick dog treats may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria and recalls several batches of treats.

July 6, 2010: Merrick voluntarily recalls their ‘Beef Filet Squares for Dogs’ treats due to possible Salmonella bacteria.

August 4, 2010: Merrick expands voluntary recall of its ‘Beef Filet Squares for Dogs’ to include 83 cases’ Texas Hold’ ems’ snacks due to possible Salmonella bacteria.

August 16, 2010: Merrick expands recall regarding batches of treats, including ‘Beef Filet Squares for Dogs’ and ‘Texas Hold’ ems’ due to contamination of Salmonella bacteria.

January 30, 2011: Merrick announced a voluntary recall of their ‘Junior Texas Taffy’ pet treats due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

September 9, 2011: Merrick recalled a single lot of its ‘Doggie Wishbone’ pet treats due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

May 23, 2018: a voluntary recall of a limited amount of beef treats varieties due to the potentially elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone. High levels of beef thyroid hormone may cause increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate, and restlessness.

Taste of the Wild

The parent organization of Taste of the Wild, Diamond Pet Food, has had several recalls. Only one of which directly related to the Taste of the Wild brand:

May 5, 2012 – Taste of the Wild recalled a batch of their products as a precaution. They were associated with a different Diamond Pet Food salmonella concern that affected other brands manufactured in Diamond Pet Food facilities.

Although the recall affected thousands of pets and owners across the country, food tested by Diamond Pet Food showed negative results for salmonella.

Food Ingredients

Dog Food Ingredients
Both Merrick and Taste of the Wild use natural ingredients in their recipes.

The nutritional needs of your pup should be the first aspect of the food that you look at. It will dictate healthy growth and keep him fighting fit, thanks to a healthy immune system.

The next important choice for pet owners is what feeding system they decide to follow for Fido. It could be organic only, or real whole foods only, or maybe a grain-free diet. Whatever it is, the ingredient list is where you will learn the most about what your pup is eating.

Merrick

The Merrick group of products has a protein average of around 30% and a mean fat level of 15%. Deboned meat, whether it be chicken, beef, or duck, is always the first ingredient of a Merrick recipe. Whole food ingredients are a high-quality yardstick by which you can measure how good food is.

Another is the use of meat by-products, which are a very low-quality protein. Merrick never uses by-products in their recipes. And this means you can rest assured that their formulas are made with good quality meat and vegetable products. Meat meals are also listed within the first five ingredients, and these products are full of protein, omega acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

They provide a variety of grain inclusive and grain-free recipes. The grain inclusive recipes list whole grains and are free of pea and lentils. Which is an additive often used to increase protein on the cheap. They do not use corn, wheat, or soy as fillers and instead use brown rice and gentle oatmeal.

They also add extra vitamins and minerals to the recipes to ensure your pup gets the necessary building blocks for good health and immunity to illness. All of which Fido wouldn’t get if he ate raw meat alone.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild ingredients are natural and have a varied selection of whole meat ingredients. Meats include beef, bison, wild boar, fish, fowl, lamb, and venison. They pride themselves on using good quality meat products. They also refuse to use meat by-products that can have obscure proteins and other nutritionally lacking parts of animals within them.

Their grain-free recipes use sweet potato, peas, and legumes, which are all very nutritious and full of goodness for your doggo. Their grain inclusive lines use ancient grain ingredients such as chia seeds, quinoa, millet, and sorghum, which they believe reflects a more natural canine diet.

Taste of the Wild formulates recipes so that they are easily digestible. Ingredients such as chicory root and prebiotic fiber are listed to aid regular digestion. Intestinal health and friendly gut bacteria are promoted thanks to probiotic ingredients, such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bacillus subtilis.

Just like Merrick, they add extra vitamins and minerals to ensure that Fido gets everything he needs to be healthy.

Range of Formulas

Different Food Formula
Both brands have a variety of different recipes in their dog food formulas.

To promote healthy diets in all shapes and sizes of dogs, most brands have ranges that cater for every canine need. Big or small, lazy, or active, there is usually a specific recipe for each. So, let’s see what Merrick and Taste of the Wild have to offer on this front:

Merrick

Merrick has 6 product lines. The different product lines are listed out below. Each of these product lines serve a different purpose and has a different nutritional profile. They are as follows:

  • Grain-Free (their standard grain-free line)
  • Backcountry (kibble with raw infused toppers)
  • Full Source (full of extra vitamins and minerals)
  • Lil’ Plates (their smaller pups’ line)
  • Limited Ingredient Diet (for those with sensitive digestive systems)
  • Classic Healthy Grains (their standard grain inclusive line)

Across the lines, there is a choice of breed size, life stages, and dietary requirement recipes to choose from. They also have grain-free and grain inclusive options within their other diet-specific lines.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild offer a total of 2 product lines. These product lines are their standard kibble, and their “Prey” line which is considered a limited ingredient dog food

There are grain-free options in the standard kibble line but not in the Prey line. Their two puppy recipes are the only dietary specific offering they provide. Their primary offering focuses on providing a wide variety of different recipes and flavors instead.

Puppy Formulas

Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula

Taste of the Wild Puppy Food HP
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • No corn, grain, wheat or fillers.
  • Made with real buffalo and bison.
  • High protein for muscle development.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 5% Fiber.

 

View at Chewy.com

In your pup’s first year of life, they will complete most of their growth. As such, they require higher amounts of protein and specific nutrients for the correct development of their eyes and brain. Puppy formulas have a higher protein content and slightly more fat than regular dog food. So, it’s essential to feed him a puppy formula. Here’s how these brands provide for your pup.

Merrick

Merrick has a range of 6 puppy product lines. One from the full source range, one from the classic range, two from the Backcountry range (one grain-free, one with healthy grains). There are two from their grain-free specific line, and finally, one from the Lil’ Plates range that caters for the smaller pup.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild offers 2 puppy specific formulas. However, their ethos is that their quality standard food recipe is good enough for puppies and nursing mothers alike. One of the puppy recipes is egg and chicken free to cater to those with allergies, which is a rare offering by many brands. There are no breed or size-specific puppy options here. Taste of the wild is a great dog food for Pomsky puppies or any breed that has a sensitive stomach.

Winner

Taste of the Wild wins this round, even with fewer products. While they don’t have the product offering that Merrick does, they win due to the sheer amount of volume and following that their puppy line has. Their puppy formulas are grain-free and are widely approved of by many dog owners. While Taste of the Wild wins this category for most dogs, Merrick has an excellent line of small breed puppy food called “lil’ plates” which is great for toy and small breed dogs.

Adult Formulas

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
  • Grain-free formula.
  • No corn, wheat or fillers.
  • Probiotics for digestion.
  • Buffalo is the first ingredient.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

It’s not only puppies that have specific dietary needs. Adult dogs, due to size, age, and even energy levels, need a differing balance of nutrients according to life stage. Most brands have wised up to this and offer a range of breed and lifestyle-oriented recipes to ensure they get what they need.  Let’s see if these brands are as wise as they seem.

Merrick

Across their 7 product lines, Merrick has 37 recipes. These include grain and grain-free options, as well as small dog and large breed offerings. There are also limited ingredient formulas to cater for the sensitive types amongst our furry friends. As well as weight management options for the porkier ones. Merrick has one of our favorite formulas for adult Australian Shepherds.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild has its standard grain-free recipes and their ancient grains recipes. They also offer their limited ingredient Prey range, which has just four ingredients per recipe. There are 16 recipes across the adult kibbles, with a great choice of meats available.

As with the puppy round, none of the recipes offer small dog kibble. There also aren’t any lifestyle options such as low-fat or high protein for overweight or working dogs. A great example of this is the Siberian Husky, that can have a sensitive stomach. Huskies need a well-balanced grain-free food to maintain the balance of their sensitive stomachs.

Winner

Taste of the Wild wins here, due to their different recipes and focus on the Adult lines. They are also widely panned by critics, with a generally favorable rating by most dog owners that use their foods.

Senior Formulas

Merrick Grain Free Senior

Merrick Senior Dog Food Formula
  • Grain-free.
  • Glucosamine boost.
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient.
  • L-Carnitine for metabolism boost.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 372 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

As your pup reaches his twilight years, like us, he will slow down and suffer from aches and pains. This is the point in life where a change of diet could help him enjoy life despite the years. Glucosamine and chondroitin will keep his joints lubricated and supple.

Extra vitamins and minerals will help stave off illness, while less fat and more fiber will reduce his calorie intake so that he doesn’t pile on the pounds as he becomes less active. Let’s see what these brands offer in the senior arena.

Merrick

Merrick has 2 senior kibbles, one for all adult dogs and one for the smaller breeds in their Lil’ plates range.  Both formulas have fewer calories and fat to help maintain weight. As well as added L-carnitine and leading levels of omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These help to keep his metabolism healthy, his skin and coat shiny, and his joints in tip-top condition.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is content that their recipes are suitable for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages. But when examining their guaranteed analysis, their products lag in terms of glucosamine and omega fatty acid levels quite considerably. This is disappointing for such a good quality brand not to offer senior-specific food.

Winner

Once again, due to the full range of formulas they offer, Merrick comes out as the winner. Unfortunately, Taste of the Wild does not offer anything for dogs in their golden years. Merrick is actually one of our favorite foods for senior Boston Terriers and one of our food favorites for senior Cocker Spaniels.

Wet Foods

Merrick Chunky Canned Food

  • Made with USDA deboned beef.
  • Can be served as a stand-alone meal.
  • Made with no artificial colors or by-products.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 352 Calories per cup.
  • 8% Protein, 3% Fat, 1.4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

As much as we love to champion a great flavored and well-balanced kibble, we understand that sometimes it can get a bit boring and samey for your pup. To combat this, we often advise using a mix of wet and dry food to get your dog interested again in his kibble.

For this reason, we like to check out what wet food a brand offers should we need to treat Fido to a can or two to get his appetite back. So, let’s look at what’s on offer.

Merrick

There are a whopping 59 wet foods available from Merrick. Each line of kibble has complimenting canned wet food. With flavors such as ‘Star-Spangled Supper’, and ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish Stew’, your pup is spoilt for choice.

On top of the wet food, Merrick also offers ‘toppers’, which are pre-packaged broths for pouring over dry food. As well as freeze-dried raw protein pieces that can be added to kibble as a topper or even used as standalone treats.

Taste of the Wild

On offer from Taste of the Wild, we have 5 recipes to choose from for wet food. With bison, beef, fish, fowl, or lamb, your pup gets good quality canned moist meat that is nutritious and grain-free.

Winner

For the final round, because of the sheer range of products on offer, Merrick wins again. You can truly rest assured that Fido has plenty of choices to get excited about whether he is a puppy or a senior. Merrick has all bases covered here.

Final Thoughts

When comparing Taste of the Wild vs. Merrick, it isn’t that clear cut. Taste of the Wild are creators of excellent quality, very well-balanced recipes. Despite the lack of product range and specific formulas that Taste of the Wild offers, your dog will still get a better nutritional intake compared to a cheaper alternative. Overall, it’s a tie between these two brands in terms that each manufacturer wins in different categories where we feel one is stronger than the other.

Ultimately though, it comes down to your own dog’s needs, your own beliefs, and circumstances. So, whichever you choose from these two brands, you are likely to have one super-healthy and happy pup as a result. 

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